Those Harry Potter books have made a pretty penny for JK Rowling – she’s one of the few near billionaire authors on the planet.
Her fortune is currently estimated at more than €850m. It has been quite a journey from those early days trying to complete her first book while getting by on social welfare. As a separated mother of a young child, her fortunes had taken a dive.
She famously wrote in cafes, rocking her baby to sleep, consoled there was a supply of ready-made coffee to hand.
Often controversial outside of her writing life, Rowling has a proven record of sometimes delving into her own cash to give the less fortunate a leg-up.
She is also an unlikely but still long-time friend of one of the great nearly men of British politics, Gordon Brown. Since he departed centre stage, he has shared her passion to confront child poverty.
A riveting series now running on the BBC called Blair & Brown: The New Labour Revolution traverses that most intriguing duopoly – the one-time union of Tony Blair and Brown, which heralded unprecedented success for the Labour Party.
Contrasted with Labour’s current fitful and uncertain state, with the polls suggesting Boris Johnson and his crew will win the next election, those were indeed heady times for the party.
As with JK Rowling, there’s also a famous cafe link where a young Blair and Brown reportedly first bonded – and dared to dream of a life in Downing Street.
Allegedly, both men shared a meal in a London diner called Granita, sketching on a table napkin how to make Labour electable and remove the Tories from office.
They discussed how they might share power in the hoped-for revolution. This television series suggests that at this stage, Brown was the more senior and experienced of the two.
He understandably hoped he would be the main man, regardless of what fate had in store for their blossoming partnership.
Following the sudden death of the then Labour leader John Smith, two young men in a hurry knew the glittering prizes were at hand, if only they could grasp them.
Maybe it was, as one observer put it, the fact Blair’s teeth were more photogenic. But almost overnight, he was deemed to have more ‘connectivity’ with voters. A lightness of touch contrasted with the somewhat dour demeanour underpinning Brown’s public persona.
From the off, Blair had a simple and direct message to sell. “You can only achieve power by operating in the centre ground,” he told the programme.
It became the guiding motif of his political life. He relentlessly faced down the hard left in his party, a lesson not lost on current Labour leader Keir Starmer.
However, this latest probe into the Blair-Brown relationship leaves a lingering poignancy. Brown could never match the slick saleability of the Blaireite image. It left him a perennial number two in what had to be an unequal partnership.
Nowadays, there is a remove between both men despite all those heady moments they shared. The plan back then was that Blair would concentrate on the bigger picture such as foreign affairs. That would leave Brown to oversee domestic politics, especially the running of the economy.
But almost from day one there was vicious behind-the-scenes infighting. Spin doctors and background advisers in both camps relentlessly tried to gain advantage at the expense of those on the other side.
A key feature of this current series is the less-than-convincing arguments from Blair as to why he was such a gung-ho supporter of the George Bush-inspired war in Iraq.
Despite his disappointments, Brown seems the more sanguine of the two as middle age gives way to a more reflective time in their lives.
His friend, JK Rowling, still harbours a soft spot for Labour, despite all its up and downs.
After all, she gifted a million quid to the party when her man Gordon was in Number 10. Just to keep on fighting the good fight.